La madeleine de Marcel Proust

Who doesn’t know les madeleines de Marcel Proust..? Those well-known shell shaped petits gateaux with their particular little hump on the one side and the ribbed shell opposite side.

Recipe translation:

  1. 90g butter and a little more for the pans
  2. 90g flour
  3. 75g sugar
  4. 10g honey
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 2 eggs

*Melt the butter. In a bowl, whisk  the eggs,  sugar and salt for 5 minutes. Add the flour. Stir in with a wooden spoon. Add the cooled off melted butter and the honey. Leave to rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Remove the dough from the fridge and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes. Melt the extra butter and brush the insides of madeleine pans. Fill the pans with the dough, about 1 tsp into each cavity. Bake for 10 minutes(5 minutes for the mini madeleines). Remove from the pans before completely cooled.

Extract from Proust, la cuisine retrouvé, Le Chêne, 1991. the recipe is created by Alain Senderens, who was inspired by the cooking of Proust.

Suggestions:

  • Add the lemon zest of 1/2 lemon
  • To get the nice hump on your madeleine, it is necessary to have the dough cool and the oven temperature high.
  • Bake the mini Madeleines only 5 minutes.
  • I prefer the real old fashioned metal pans. The ribbed shell effect is much more pronounced than when using the silicone pans.

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-My chickens produce small eggs with large egg yolks and I have to use 2 of them to replace 1 normal egg-

-Zest from a lemon to flavor les madeleines-

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Il etait une fois…La madeleine, histoires et recettes d’un produit d’exeption lorrain – Michel Caffier

(book to be found at Amazon.fr)

Marcel Proust said: (roughly translated from below) “One winter’s day, when I came home; my mother saw how cold I was and offered me a cup of tea. I didn’t usually drink tea and I refused, but then I changed my mind. she brought me some small cakes called madeleines which seemed to be molded in a scallop shell. Still overwhelmed by the sad day I had and the sad day that lay ahead , I mechanically brought a teaspoon of tea, in which I softened a piece of madeleine, to my lips. At that moment, when it touched my palate, I trembled, suddenly very aware of something extraordinary happening to me. I was overcome with  a deilcious pleasure; isolated, without notion of its cause..I ceased feeling mediocre, ordinary, mortal. Where could this powerful joy have come from? I sensed it had something to do with the tasting of this tea and cake.”

This wonderful little book is all about la madelene, how this delicious French petit gateau was born, how it got its name, how it is labelled;, sold at the stations by young maidens, the influence of St Jacques de Compostelle and it ends with the traditional recipe, which is the ones I used, and a list of additions to change the madeleine with some chocolate, hone,  lemon and more.

Legend has it that one day, at the chateau de Commercy of Stanislas, in the middle of a beautiful meal, the maître d’hotel reported an incident to the prince: out of anger towards his chef, the assistant chef took out his anger on the serving of the dessert. It is unsure in which form this revenge was, but the fact was, that there was no dessert to be served. A maidservant, witnessing the distress of the maître d’hotel, offered him a solution.Tender petits gateaux, the way her grandmother made it. Necessity reigns and Madeleine Paulmier was given permission to present her little cakes for dessert. Of course it was a huge success and so la Madeleine was born.

A typical scene at the station of Commercy: young women selling madeleines to travelers. In a poem, Jacques Prévert  recalls these little cakes so often bought by the soldiers of Verdun with their last trip. (postcard dated beginning XXth century).

At Commercy, the sign the bell ringer was created by the Colombe family, a line of bakers for over 150 years.From the 1780’s, Claude Colombe used the secret recipe of Madeleine Paulmier.

à la prochaine

Ronelle

Goat’s cheese and caramelized apple salad.. and ochre abundance.

Once again, I had to scratch my head to think of a recipe that would accompany the stunning ochre colours of fall. Of course not only in colour, but also in taste, spirit, ambiance..Of course..cheese. I can’t believe I haven’t shared this simple salad yet. It can be  manipulated and changed according to the seasons and is always a winner with its warm toast, cheese and apple and fresh green salad.

Une pincée de fleur de sel:

  • Place the apple rounds and goat’s cheese on toasted bread before putting under the grill.
  • Take care to slice your apples, bread for toast and cheese more or less the same size.
  • Use slices of Camembert instead of goat’s cheese.
  • Use pears or quince instead of apples.
  • Use brown sugar to caramelize the pears or quince instead of honey and serve with a helping of quince jam/jelly.
  • Play around and make your own combinations to serve a melted cheese and apple/pear/quince salad.

..stillife  nicked by a chicken..

..stillife with Royal Gala apples..

..walnut oil, walnut vinegar, raspberry vinegar, truffle vinegar..

Our fall colors have only now really reached their peak and the ochres are in abundance. I don’t have much to say, except that nature is at the moment an explosion of magnificence..

à la prochaine!

Ronelle

Grandmothers’ day, Hawaii and a bistrot spirit.

Today is Grandmothers’ day here in France. everywhere “les Mamies” were taken out to lunches, flower shops were open(normally closed on Sundays) and husbands and children walked around with small bouquets for their sweet “Mamie” I wish I had a “Mamie” who I could spoil today, but the best I could do, was join in the fun at out Cecile’s bar, “le café du Centre” in Beaulieu sur Dordogne, where everybody gathered in happy spirit for coffee and croissants!

..Cecile..

Of course that is something just up my alley, for I adore my coffee and I adore my croissant. I’m not a very routine and organized focused person, but not a day goes by that I don’t routinely start my day with my  black “café allongé, un verre d’eau, un croissant and the day’s journal, La Montagne.

..my habitual café et croissant..

And so…right there, this morning, next to mon Chéri, among our cafés and croissant crumbs, camera, lenses and writing carnets and laughter of Cecile’s clients, the idea was born for a new blog. I am up for change!

..le café du centre..

So maybe I will move over from Myfrenchkitchen to Café & croissant, which will just be about everything I encounter in my everyday life…I suppose not much different from what I’ve done on Myfrenchkitchen. and of course food is included….man can’t live on croissants alone! I am considering having only the one blog…for my art, for our coin Perdu and its country life and restoration and all things that I find brings sense to this challenging life we live. But maybe I won’t move…I will of course lose many of my readers and will have to start all over and my URL will change which is always a complicated story for all involved. But where is a will, is a way. I need to move on to something new…some new juice! The future will lead me.

..Café & croissant..

I’m also leaving this week for a week or two in Hawaii with mon Chéri. All tech stuff will stay behind, except for my camera. I’m taking only my bathing suit, sketching tools and little black number…for all those dinners awaiting me! I want to switch off and indulge in nature the sun and surroundings, let my senses treat me every day. Can you tell I’m excited?

..early morning..

..sunset..

And to round off this post…I made a curry chicken tagine for dinner..

  • Chicken cut into portions, browned in olive oil and madras curry. Added potatoes cut in cubes, onions cut roughly, a handful of organic dried apricots, chopped preserved lemon, a tablspoon of wild flower honey and some homemade chicken stock from the freezer. Bring to the boil and slowly simmer until you have a thick sauce and tender vegetable and chicken.
  • Add some spices of your taste…I used cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper and crushed juniper berries.
  • Serve with couscous.
  • Bon appétit!!

aloha!

ronelle

Crêpe à la semoule for Mardi Gras 2012.

Welcome to today, Mardi gras 2012!!

A little Mediterranean flavour to celebrate this feasty day…the last day on which we “fatten up” before we start our 40 day fast up to Pâcques. What else do we eat than crêpes…again?! Only, this time a bit different…made with semolina flour and yeast, it is left for an hour to rise before baking in a pan. The yeast may scare you off, but it is not at all difficult…no kneading involved, and while you wait on the raising of the yeast, you can clean up the kitchen. It is traditionally served with soft butter and warm honey in the Middle East….delicious I tell you!

…served with warm panfried clementines and honey and butter…

…served with soft butter and drizzled with warm honey…

  1. Add 4 tsp dry yeast to 125 ml lukewarm water. Add 3 TBS flour and leave aside in a warm place for about 15 minutes until the mixture begins to foam.
  2. Sift 250g flour, 250 fine semolina and a pinch of salt in a bowl and shape a hole in the middle of the flour.
  3. Beat 2 eggs with 125 ml lukewarm milk and add into the hole made in the flour. Add the foamed yeast mixture and another 350 ml lukewarm water. Work the flour gently from the outside towards the centre, mixing it with the yeast/milk mixture in the middle. Whisk briskly until the mixtrue is smooth with the consistency of thick cream. cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for and hour unil the mixture becomes foamy and doubles in volume.
  4. Wipe a pan with a little buttered or oiled paper and heat it up on the stove until hot. Drop a small ladle full of mixture into the center of the pan(about 3 TBSP).  Bake until the top is dry and makes small holes/bubbles. don’t turn over. Remove from the pan and keep warm on a plate  over hot water. Cover with a damp towel.
  5. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
  6. Serve warm on a plate with warmed honey and soft butter OR some clementine slices, slightly caramelized in butter and honey.
  7. Serve warm.

Makes about 16 crêpes.

Suggestions:

  • Add  a drop of orange flower water to the crêpe mixture OR add it to the clementines.
  • Arrange the crêpes after baking each one in overlapping fashion rather that on top of each other.
  • Butter the pan between baking if you don’t use a non stick pan.

…eggs, semolina, flour, yeast and a scale..

..acacia honey, fresh seasonal clementines and many books..

* Recipe adapted from “crêpe à la semoule” de  Le Meilleur du MAroc, by Tess Maloss, Larousse.

I hope you have a festive Mardi Gras and that your fasting from tomorrow on stays motivated and on the right track… ahem ahem…!

à bientôt!

Ronelle